27 August 2016

Doin' the Eagle Rock - Farewell to a Great Airline

Awaiting departure... the last Eagle Air Beech 1900 in service, ZK-EAH at Hamilton on 26 August 2016

Air New Zealand announce the departure of flight 2105 to Palmerston North...

A nice touch by Hamilton Airport staff was played as we boarded... Click on the link!

Captain Chris Mortimore was supervising boarding and sitting in the right hand seat.

In the unlikely event of an emergency

The last day of looking into the cockpit of an Air New Zealand flight

GPU unplugged and almost ready to go

The sun going down on Eagle Air

and the last departure from Hamilton

Airborne off 36 passing the Eagle hangars and 3 Beech 1900s awaiting sale

A final flypast of the Waikato River

And then the view for the 50 minute flight was pretty much cloud

A full load of 19 pax

The Desert Road is over there...


Left turn for the 07 approach for Palmerston North 

Gear down

There is our gate over there!

In the left hand seat, Captain Peter Reid

It was a real privilege to meet Malcolm and Joan Campbell who were guests of honour on the flights between Hamilton and Palmerston North. Malcolm founded the Eagle Flying Academy in 1969. Eagle Airways started air services between Hamilton and Palmerston North on the 3rd of October 1975. Malcolm says his most significant move was introducing the Embraer Bandeirante to the airline's operation. In my opinion this was the most significant event in the history of regional air services in New Zealand and led to most regional airports in New Zealand having multiple flights each day making the aeroplane the most important mover of people around the country over trains and buses.

ZK-EAH being prepared at Palmerston North to operate NZ2421 (EAGLE 421) to Wellington

Eagle 421 on the taxi for Runway 25 

Eagle 421 rolling

The final Eagle Air flight - NZ2106 from Palmerston North to Hamilton

ZK-EAH back in Palmerston North after operating EAGLE 426 from Wellington

Fuelling up for the Eagle's Air final flight

A new generation aviation enthusiast... this young man and his mum flew up from Christchurch to fly on the final Eagle flight

Boarding Eagle 2106 for Hamilton - Captain Chris Mortimore greets Captain Alan Breen... Alan and first Officer Barry Brown flew last morning HLZ-PMR-WLG-PMR-HLZ services

Another full ship

Eagle Air's first service was from Hamilton to Palmerston North in 1975...
Nearly 41 years later final Hamilton-Palmerston North service

And yes, we were doing the Eagle Rock going into Hamilton

ZK-EAH back in Hamilton

Sarah Williamson, Group General Manager Regional Airlines and Airline Operations for Air New Zealand, met all the passengers coming off the final Eagle Air flight and presented them with a gift bag.

Eagle Air, you rocked!
The regional towns and cities of New Zealand will miss you!

For the history of Eagle Air see : 

Eagle Air – Complete History
Eagle Air's Hokitika Service

Eagle Air's Oamaru Service

Eagle Air's Wanaka Service

Eagle Air's Westport Service


  1. Can I ask what was in the gift bag? :)

    1. The most exciting things were an Air NZ cap and some Air NZ Beech 1900 stickers

    2. I worked there over a decade, and had to ask if I may have a cap when I left.
      But, no, another for your wife would be an extravagance, so you may have just the one.

  2. I was going to ask the same question!
    Great report, a sad day for aviation in NZ. Will miss flying on and seeing the Beech around regional NZ.

  3. Love to see Eagle Air do a farewell tour of New Zealand but Air NZ will not let that happen

    1. Would've been cool yes, for us enthusiasts.

      The termination of this operation was in part brought about by the increasingly vocal NZ public who were no longer prepared to pay the fares required for the Beechcraft to remain viable without subsidy on these thin marginal routes.

  4. Great post! Quick question, why is the aileron deflected the whole flight? I've seen this before and can't figure out why it is.

    1. It's more than likely been rigged that way by the engineers

    2. Had that on the Convair 580 I flew in on the weekend. Thought it was odd.

    3. Aileron trim yo. Pilots trim all the flight controls all the time. Clean up the aircraft after take off.

  5. I agree. Great post. A fitting tribute to an unappreciated company that provided a memorable service and now a part of NZ aviation history.

  6. Air nz have little interest in their regional airlines frankly and certainly nothing in their history at all.